Industrial Media – Analysis and Reflection 2 – Q 1 Drama analysis

The article from the drama folder I chose to read was the article by Malkiewicz (1986) ‘lighting the scene’. The reason I chose this was because of the importance lighting plays in film and it is also something I am still learning. I chose it in a hope to learn something about lighting from it.

The first point I took from the article was in the section ‘controlling hard light’. This is something I have recently had experience with and it was a difficult task to accomplish. The article makes an interesting point about shadows when it states that ‘in real life we are used to only having one shadow…multiple shadows on film are distracting’ (Malikiewicz, p. 106). Looking back on the short film I did using hard lights there are several scenes when, unfortunately, there were two shadows. Even though I realize this now, the scenes still would have been extremely difficult to achieve this with only the one shadow, as there were three lights lighting the scene. It is a difficult issue to overcome, the article even states ‘cinematographers take great care to minimize multiple shadows’. It is clearly an important part of using hard light.

Another interesting point I gathered from the article was the statement made by Vilmos Zsigmond (p. 102) who explains that he ‘never thinks of the sun being as high over head… if the scene calls for day it could be 10 A.M… or 3 P.M but it is never 12 noon.’ I found this statement really interesting. What Zsigmond means by it is that cinematographers feel ‘more uneasy about key light coming from high above and creating what is considered a ‘film look’ as opposed to the reality of light coming from the window’ (Malikiewicz, p. 100). The reason I found this interesting was that I have never considered it before. Light at 10 A.M and 3 P.M is somewhat different than light at 12 noon. 10 A.M and 3 P.M light would be coming in an angle whereas 12 noon light would come from above. I agree that the 10 and 3 light definitely creates a more realistic look and quite often a more interesting look due to the angles of light and shadows.

Malkiewicz, K 1986, Film lighting: talks with Hollywood’s cinematographers and gaffers, New York p. 99-135.

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